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Dennis v. Grady

United States District Court, N.D. New York

September 23, 2014

RYAN DENNIS, Plaintiff,
WILLIAM V. GRADY, et al., Defendants.

RYAN DENNIS, Plaintiff Pro Se, Purling, New York.


CHRISTIAN F. HUMMEL, Magistrate Judge.

The Clerk has sent to the Court a civil rights complaint and amended complaint brought by pro se plaintiff Ryan Dennis ("Dennis") presumably pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983[1] and various New York State statutes. Compl. (Dkt. No. 1); Am. Compl. (Dkt. No. 5). Dennis has not paid the filing fee and instead seeks permission to proceed with this matter in forma pauperis ("IFP"). Dkt. No. 2. Dennis also seeks (1) permanent injunctive relief restraining all defendants from proceeding with Dennis' criminal matters (Compl.; Am. Compl. at 1; Dkt. No 6), and (2) permission to substitute a party, Peter M. Forman, to replace the originally named defendant, Paul M. Forman (Dkt. No. 4).


A. Application to Proceed IFP

Dennis has submitted an IFP Application. After reviewing the entire file, the Court finds that plaintiff's financial status qualifies him to file this action without prepaying in full the $350.00 filing fee. Plaintiff's request to proceed IFP in this action is therefore granted.

B. Allegations Contained in the Complaint

Section 1915(e) of Title 28 of the United States Code directs that, when a plaintiff seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, "the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... the action or appeal (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Thus, it is a court's responsibility to determine that a plaintiff may properly maintain his complaint before permitting him to proceed further with his action.

Dennis brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. An action commenced pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 requires proof of the "deprivation of any right[], privilege[], or immunit[y] secured by the Constitution" or laws of the federal government. 42 U.S.C. § 1983; see also German v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp. , 885 F.Supp. 537, 573 (S.D.N.Y. 1995) ("Section 1983 establishes a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States.") (quotations omitted).

Dennis outlines two events which gave rise to a criminal proceeding which is the basis of his complaint. On March 17, 2013, Dennis was stopped for a traffic infraction. Dkt. No. 5 at 23. When Dennis refused to speak with local law enforcement and called "911", the Troopers were dispatched. Id . Upon conversing with the Troopers, Dennis stated that he had a pistol in his vehicle. Id . The car was searched and the handgun was found. Id . Dennis had a concealed carry permit which allowed him to carry pistols; however, this particular pistol was not listed as one of his firearms on the permit. Id . The Troopers confiscated the gun and began an investigation. Id . It was discovered that Dennis was a resident of Vermont where an individual did not require a concealed carry permit to carry a pistol and that the pistol had been legally purchased. Id . Dennis was traveling through New York and intended to return to Vermont[2], so the Troopers concluded that no further investigation was needed, returned Dennis' firearm to him, and released him. Id.

In May of 2013, Dennis was arrested in Dutchess County for what appears to be driving with a suspended license. Am. Compl. at 1. In connection with the arrest, Dennis' vehicle was searched and he was charged with a violation of New York Penal Law § 265.03[3]. Id . On September 3, 2013, Dennis was in town court in Dutchess County for the above matter when he was given a summons for Ulster County Court on the same charges. Id. at 2. On November 14, 2013, Dennis was forced into Dutchess County Court for an arraignment on an indictment in connection with the above matter, remanded to jail for twelve days, and let out on $100, 000 bond. Id . A trial was scheduled for July 28, 2014. Id . On that day, Dennis accepted a plea, for a D violent felony with five years probation. Id. at 2-3. The sentencing was scheduled for September 16, 2014. Id. at 3.

The gravamen of Dennis' complaints deal with the arrest process, criminal representation, plea, and consequences he faces as a felon. See generally Am. Compl. Dennis also contends that the New York statutory schemes which he has included in his complaint, namely New York Penal Laws §§ 265.03 and 400 "may be constitutional in their entirety, considering all legislative intent, " however, the manner in which they were applied against him in connection with his criminal prosecution was not. Am. Compl. at 15-16. Accordingly, the thrust of Dennis' complaint and request for emergency injunctive relief all stem from his criminal prosecution and plea.

The Supreme Court has held that

in order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for ...

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